I am sitting next to one of my 6th graders, J., as he flips though one of his favorite books. This book accompanies him to MakerSpace every day and if he is in the lab after school he typically has the book so he can refer to it. The book is a large picture book of the planets and their moons. He is showing me some of his favorite parts, and reading passages to me. As he is doing this, he is holding a model of one of the moons described in the book.
My sixth and seventh grade STEAM students immersed themselves in the wonder of electricity this school year. They started out by exploring basic circuits, using blocks that I constructed using the Exploratorium’s ideas from their electricity exploration curriculum.
What do these words mean? How are they interpreted by teachers, by administrators, by students, by politicians?
In the past few months I have been a part of a number of discussions surrounding this question. The conversations are genuine and in most cases have the best interests of students and learning in mind. There is one thing that I have noticed, there can be a wide range of perspectives and responses to these questions.
Education is filled with acronyms and buzzwords, some invented by educators and others borrowed from industry and psychology and even popular culture memes. Why is it that an experience as basic as learning has been so sliced and diced into so many pieces that it has become unrecognizable? School vision statements are peppered with the buzz words of the day, false testament that these things are occurring on a regular basis within the walls of the school.
One of the most meaningful things that I get to do as a teacher is to watch my students learn. What makes it most exciting and interesting for me is observing this learning through their eyes and their contexts. I have several Flip Cameras located in the classroom long with my Point and Shoot camera and the students will ask me “where is the camera?” “can we use the camera?” “we just did something really cool, can we record it?"